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Man’s best friend could play role in stopping the spread of COVID

COVID Sniffing Dogs
COVID Sniffing Dogs(Sharon Dahlquist | Queen's Health Systems)
Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 5:44 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii medical researchers are exploring new ways to fight COVID-19 — and it involves man’s best friend.

The Maui-based nonprofit Assistance Dogs of Hawaii and Queen’s Medical Center conducted research to see if it is possible to teach dogs to detect people infected with COVID.

Researchers said the study is aimed at detecting and preventing the spread of coronavirus.

Four dogs have been participating in the study, including Labrador retrievers Sadie, Tess and Yuki, and Samson, a golden retriever.

The nonprofit said the dogs are trained to pick up the scent of COVID-19 through sweat.

So far, researchers said there has been 100% accuracy when screening patients at Queen’s Medical Center.

“Each of the dogs has a natural alerting behavior when they detect COVID. For Tess, she paws at the box, so she takes both feet and paws and gets excited,” said Maureen Maurer, executive director of Assistance Dogs of Hawaii.

“It’s just a really accurate, efficient and inexpensive way to screen large numbers of people.”

If the study is successful, the trained dogs could be used at ports of entry or at large gatherings to provide rapid, non-invasive screening for COVID.

For more information or if you’re interested in volunteering, contact Assistance Dogs of Hawaii at (808) 298-0167.

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